Day 6 - warner spRings meadows to warner springs
April 2 | Miles 103.5 - 109.5
I woke up at 5:30 with the joy of town on my mind.
6 miles stood between me and a hot shower, a beer, and a resupply box packed with shampoo, Q-tips, and a nail file. Oh, and my next 4 days’ worth of food.
A short hiking day, like 6 miles, is called a nero day (near zero). Merrily I packed up my gear as I once again donned the single salt-stained sweat-stiffened hiking outfit I have. Ah, ultralight backpacking.
I was one with the animals. I had fallen asleep last night to the sound of coyotes yipping and howling, and when I stepped out of my tent this morning I was met by a field full of hungry cows:
They were so funny. As I kept approaching the cows blocking the trail, they would each step away for a second, stare at me as I passed, and then start to follow. They have a blog, it’s at cowsontrail.com.
The trail this morning passed through wildly different terrain than it had traversed the past few days. Gone was the desert, replaced by a bright green meadow straight out of The Sound of Music.
I made it to Eagle Rock (self-explanatory)…
…and then descended into a lush tree-lined valley as the trail ran alongside La Cañada Creek.
Eventually I started to see signs of civilization: a car strewn in a ditch with overgrown foliage, the chain-link fence surrounding the fire department, and of course, the trailhead.
The trail spat me out on a highway across from the ranger station, which led me to the extremely hiker-friendly community center.
Tons of hikers had gathered to tent on their lawn. The sweet ladies at the center offer hikers bucket showers and laundry as well as a small convenience store, where I bought a $1 razor and $2 Snickers bar. A backpacking outfitter also runs a mobile trailer store onsite there until May, and I was able to snag a pair of toe socks (fingers crossed they’ll help alleviate the blisters) and some leukotape, as the sounds of Van Morrison and Bob Dylan floated from her speakers.
It was awesome to see so many friends there in one place. We all gathered on the porch, catching up and making introductions. It’s weird–you don’t realize how many people you’re meeting until they’re all together.
I chatted as well with the lovely Sherry, who co-runs the center, and she gave some of us a ride to the post office. I picked up my box and popped into the gas station next door to check in to the lodge across the street. I’d made a reservation the previous day around noon from a windy hillside God knows where, reciting my credit card number to the lady on the other end as I climbed a decently-sized hill, only slightly out of breath.
Check-in, I was informed, wasn’t until 3:15. But we made lemons into lemonade. A couple other hikers and I took over the empty patio of the single CLOSED (on Mondays and Tuesdays, naturally) restaurant in town and frittered the sunny afternoon away sorting resupplies over a few beers.
Hours later I got my room key, bought some PB&J fixins and pistachio ice cream from the gas station (solid vegetarian options) and made a beeline to the laundry room. I desperately needed to clean every item of clothing I was carrying, save for my rain jacket and Buff (repurposed as skirt):
Scandalous? Maybe. Practical? Definitely. Out here pushing the limits.
I then relished a looooong shower during which I scrubbed of a thick layer of dirt off myself, finally emerging 3 shades whiter. Do I look tan in that picture? It’s not a tan, it’s dirt.
What ensued afterwards was a resupply explosion and ritual pack cleaning.
Tell me, have you ever eaten pistachio ice cream with a spork? It’s kind of fun actually.